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Friday, August 16, 2019

Write What YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW



Tonight, the exterior of Meilori's 
resembled the LaLaurie Manson, 

the site of the gruesome torture and murder of countless slaves by their owners, 

Delphine LaLaurie and her physician husband.

Perhaps that is why the shadows around me had sharper than usual teeth 

as I brain-stormed how to promote my new collection of short stories, 

A Sampler of Shadows


Any of you want to help?  

I have a couple of ideas on how to do it, 
but I need a little help from my friends.

{Courtesy Allan Warren}

Since Meilori's exterior was what it was tonight, 

I was surprised when the ghost of James Baldwin sat down opposite me at my rune-carved table.

Maybe I shouldn't have been since it was his birthday two weeks ago.

Besides, Mr. Baldwin never shied away from confronting racism 

as the New York waitress who refused him service as a teen found out 

when he threw a glass of water at her, shattering the mirror behind her.


He said, "Wilde speaks highly of you.  

He suggested I speak of writing to you and those who drop by this little platform you have."

{Courtesy Carl Van Vechten}

WRITING IS DISCOVERY

"When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. 

The whole language of writing for me 
 is finding out 
what you don’t want to know, 
 what you don’t want to find out. 

But something forces you to anyway."


SO MANY LIE TO YOU; 
DO NOT BE ONE OF THEM 

"Self-delusion, in the service of no matter what small or lofty cause, is a price no writer can afford.

 His subject is himself and the world and it requires every ounce of stamina 

he can summon to attempt to look on himself and the world as they are.

No one knows your name ... not even yourself if you are honest about it."


DO NOT BE SELF-BLINDED

 "One writes out of one thing only: one’s own experience. 

Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, 

sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. 

This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art."


DO NOT LOSE YOUR COURAGE

 "I find writing gets harder as time goes on. 

I’m speaking of the working process, which demands a certain amount of energy and courage (though I dislike using the word), and a certain amount of recklessness.

 Every form of writing is difficult, no one is easier than another. 

They all kick your ass. None of it comes easy."


TOUCH ONE HEART; 
CHANGE THE WORLD

 "If there is no moral question, there is no reason to write. 

I’m an old‐fashioned writer and, despite the odds, I want to change the world. 

What do I hope to convey?

 Well, joy, love, the passion to feel how our choices affect the world . . . that’s all."


TRUTH IS YOUR COMPASS

"You want to write a sentence as clean as a bone. That is the goal.

 I certainly can’t imagine art for art’s sake . . .

 that’s a European approach, which never made any sense to me. 

 I think what you have to do, which is the difficult thing about a writer, 

is avoid slogans. 

You have to have the guts to protest the slogan, no matter how noble it may sound. 

It always hides something else; the writer should try to expose what it hides."


 REMEMBER HEMINGWAY


"Write. 
Find a way to keep alive 
and write. 

There is nothing else to say. 

If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; 

if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. 

What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real.

 I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: 

To last
as Hemingway says,  
and get my work done."



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

HAVE YOU EVER?



Have you ever been at work on a novel when an idea you'd been toying with

 seized you and would not let you go until you started writing it into life?

IS THAT ALL THERE WAS? 

 seized me yesterday night after having slept all day to recover from the work weekend.

Even with doing the obligatory chores and paying of bills, I've written 2700 words so far.

Most of it takes place in 1959 which was quite a pivotal year:

(Image in Public Domain)


Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba after the revolution.

The Dalai Lama is forced to flee Tibet.

 The Barbie Doll is launched.

Alaska becomes the 49th State and Hawaii becomes the 50th state, 

St. Lawrence Seaway is completed. 

(Public Domain Image)


NASA introduces America's first astronauts to the world including John H. Glenn Jr, and Alan Shepard Jr.

US Launches first Weather Station in Space.

Spookier, 

the Soviet Union crashes the Luna 2 spacecraft into the Moon, 

making it the first man-made object to reach the Moon's surface. 

OF NOTE 

Average Cost of new house $12,400.00
Average Yearly Wages $5,010.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 25 cents
Average Cost of a new car $2,200.00


Movie Ticket $1.00
Loaf of Bread 20 cents
Kodak Movie camera $67.50
Ladies Stockings $1.00 



NORTH BY NORTHWEST premieres 

which is fitting since the nine year old protagonist of my story finds himself 

beset by intrigue, betrayal, government corruption and not being who he is thought to be.

He knows better than to tell anyone the truth: 

His body may be nine years old, but his mind is that of an old man from a future he dare not let happen.

I do not know if my tale will be a short story, novella, or novel.

Only time will tell.

HAVE YOU EVER
SWITCHED FROM ONE
TALE TO ANOTHER?

Thursday, August 8, 2019

READY FOR A SUMMER ROMANCE?




 All through August, Heather McCorckle is offering 2 of her Emerald Belles series for 99 cents each!


COURTING THE CORPORAL

The Civil War has ended, but for Corporal Patrick “Rick” Fergusson the battle rages on. 

Still haunted by what he witnessed on the battlefield, the earnest Irishman is heading west, seeking only to be free of the past. 

His services are in high demand; wealthy East Coasters in need of escort clamor to join him on the journey. 

But one client, a beautiful lady named Cat, disturbs Rick’s newfound equilibrium.

High society widow Catriona O’Brian is anxious to get to California, even if it means traveling with the handsome corporal who seems to dislike her so. 

Cat no longer seeks marriage; she has pinned all her hopes on making it to the west coast and starting her own winery. 

Between the elements, wild animals, and hostile natives, however, everything seems to be conspiring against her. 

Time and again, Rick comes to her rescue. And soon, the independent lass discovers that her biggest obstacle may be the longing of her own traitorous heart . . .


DEIRDRE'S TRUE DESIRE
 
 She married rich, but not well. 

Now, with the Civil War ended and her husband gone, Deirdre must make her own way in the world. 

The golden, untamed valleys of Sonoma County beckon, a land ripe with promise. 

But her dreams of building a home and starting a winery are thwarted by locals who don’t want to sell to a spirited, independent woman—much less an Irish one.

Two very different gentlemen aid in Deirdre’s quest. 

Kin O’Leary is tall, dark, and oh-so-charming. Owner of Sonoma’s most successful inn, Kin is one of the wealthiest men in the county, 

and Deirdre believes this makes him an ill-advised suitor. 

Complicating her circumstance is Dylan O’Reilly, the strapping young cattle hand who stirs her passion to life but hides some dangerous secrets.

With Deirdre’s dreams hanging in the balance, the forthright young widow faces a difficult choice.  

Will she have the luck of the Irish when it comes to love?   

WHO DOESN'T NEED A BIT OF ROMANCE THIS SUMMER, RIGHT?

AND AT A BARGAIN PRICE, TOO!


REVIEWS


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG post: HOW TO MAKE PEACE WITH THE SHARK OF REJECTION



YOU CHOSE TO SWIM IN 
SHARK-INFESTED WATERS


We all did when we became writers.


You don't step into the ring 
unless you can take a punch


But you will be knocked down 
more than you will win.

That's just the nature of the business.

The key is to find the strength and grit
to get back up.


In 1923, Babe Ruth held the record for ...

HOME RUNS in a season

HIGHEST BATTING RECORD

and

He STRUCK OUT more times 
than any other
Major League player 
that season.

He said:

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."

"Every strike brings me closer 
to the next home run."

"Never let the fear of striking out 
keep you from the game."



Ray Bradbury started out young as a writer --
at 12,
writing on the only paper available:
Butcher's Paper
since it was the Great Depression.


He kept on getting rejected. 

 He promised himself that he would quit if he could not sell a story by the 500th rejection.

You guessed it: 

he sold a story on his 500th attempt.

"You have to learn to take rejection, not as an indication of personal failing, but as a wrong address."

Ray Bradbury said:

"Man has always been half-monster, 
half-dreamer.

Once you understand that,
then you can write a full story."



Writing is not a sprint.

It is a marathon.

And you win a marathon by 
always moving forward.

And enjoying the race doesn't hurt either.

Listen to the wisdom
of Ray Bradbury
and
grow as a writer:


Monday, August 5, 2019

AWEN RISING Makes Reading Long Books Fun Again



With a long book – 

such as Proust’s In Search of Lost Time

you immerse yourself in a world that is enveloping, absorbing, that takes you on a long journey.

You get your money's worth.


More and more, 
long books in print use tiny fonts. 

But not Awen Rising.
Its font is large and readable.

The trend is to read books around 200 pages: something you can complete in an evening.


That's hardly worth the effort 
of turning the pages!  

Game of Thrones taught us the pleasure of immersing ourselves 

in a complex, magical world of conflict, ambition, and dueling strong-willed characters.

Want dragons? 

Awen Rising has them.  

And reptilian adversaries on par with the danger of the White Walkers.

Emily Mayhall is an overwhelmed woman few, especially Emily herself, 

would think of as a champion for a world bruised by natural disasters and supernatural attacks.


A Druid heritage and supernatural beckonings are insistent Destinies that refuse to take NO for an answer.

Set in a time only a decade or two from now, O. J. Barré's tale is one that will catch you up and not let you go.

Only $3.99 for the Kindle version
and
free on Kindle Unlimited.  

Give it a try.
You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BOOK A PAGE TURNER

A book is a journey we do not have to take.  
We must be persuaded to do it.

Usually it is the set-up that does that for us: a unique or intriguing situation.

But once the book is picked up, 

it will be the characters who will tug us along to find out what they will do and say next. 

Do they make us laugh?  Do they make us root for them?

As humans, we are driven to seek an understanding of others,

for in understanding them, we come close to understanding ourselves ... 

and perhaps we will not feel quite so isolated, alone.

HOW TO ENGAGE THE READER

1.) EACH STEP MUST TAKE YOU SOMEWHERE 

As I've said: each book is a journey.  Characters, descriptions, or dialogue ... must move that journey along ...

or you are making the reader simply jog in place!


2.) TONY STARK ON A ROAD TRIP

Wouldn't he be a hoot on a road trip to anywhere?  
Your characters must entertain in some form or fashion

or your reader will opt for more enjoyable companions.


3.)  WHERE IS THE DARTH VADER OF YOUR TRIP?

Success conceals; adversity reveals.

Is he looming like a storm cloud on the horizon?

Or is she sitting, smiling like the false friend she is, right beside your hero?

Does his motivation make sense to the reader or does he exist merely to be the Big Bad of your story?

Your reader should see that he/she is just one bad day away from becoming that person.


4.) WHERE IS THE TICKING BOMB?

Imagine a tense company board meeting: 

the founder is being betrayed by his best friend in a hostile take-over.

He is bravely, intelligently fighting for his dream while the Judas is smugly smiling.

Unknown to them both, but known to the reader, a terrorist bomb is ticking beneath the table ...

right in plain sight should someone just bend down to pick up a fallen pen.

Tick ... Tick ... Tick.

Can you see all the various ways that could play out?

Your hero staggers out of the board room, having lost it all as his wife rushes into his arms ...

just as the bomb goes off, killing all those within the office.

The Judas in betraying his best friend ends up saving his life.


5.) WHERE IS THE WONDER, THE MAGIC?


It does not have to be literal magic but the wonder has to be there to draw your readers in and keep them.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD plots can become riveting if you spin them.

Robin Hood is the villain; 

the sheriff is the valiant, misunderstood man of honor 

trying to keep peace in order to prevent the King from ordering mass executions of the peasants.

A simple view out of a stagecoach window can become magical if your protagonist describes it so that the reader views it with new eyes.

My tagline to the front page of 
THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS AT LARGE is


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in acquiring new eyes.”

– Samuel McCord

Hope this has helped in some small way, Roland